Details of botched bank robbery retold in court

2015-05-19 18:50

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Pietermaritzburg - The killing of three robbers, a police sergeant and a security guard during a botched Capitec Bank robbery in Richmond in January last year was recounted in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday.

Accused Thulani Doncabe, 40, Siboniso Mpanza, 20, and Sandile Shongwe, 34, have pleaded not guilty to five charges of murder, aggravated robbery, six of attempted murder of bystanders wounded during the crime, and to the 10 attempted murders of pursuing policemen.

Doncabe and Mpanza were arrested in sugar cane fields and Shongwe in a nearby bush with the help of a tracker dog.

The three are accused of killing their three accomplices, as they anticipated violent resistance, but nevertheless pressed on.

Investigating officer Sergeant Jurgen Rencken told the court that after the failed robbery, he saw Siphitemba Mtshali, who was wounded in a shoot-out with police, lying near a car which the robbers had abandoned to flee on foot. Mtshali died soon after.

Sergeant Thamsanqa Zondi was shot dead in a shoot-out with the suspects.

Another of the robbers, Andile Hlongwane, was found dead in bushes the day after the robbery because darkness had fallen.

The third robber, Senzo Mtolo, who was hiding in dense sugar cane, was shot and killed after firing at a tracker dog and members of the Pietermaritzburg K9 unit.

Close to where Hlongwane was shot police found two cars the robbers had used. They had been stolen in Durban four days before the attempted robbery and their number plates replaced by fake ones.

Securicor guard Sicelo Phungula was shot dead at the bank by one of the robbers while he was trying to put R300 000 into an ATM.

His pistol was stolen, but later recovered. He managed to set off the dye bomb in the cash box, staining the notes and making them unusable.

The trial, being heard by Judge Rishi Seegobin, continues.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crime
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